What is a discipline improvement plan?
A discipline improvement plan is a written agreement that sets out the expectations for behaviour, the consequences for inappropriate behaviour, the strategies that will be used and the support that will be provided by the school to promote positive behaviour. A discipline improvement plan is generally initiated by the principal with the support of staff in partnership with the parents and the student. A parent may also approach the school to request the process be initiated if they are concerned about their child's behaviour. Discipline improvement plans outline clear expectations of the student's behaviour for a fixed period of time (for example. regular attendance, following the school's behaviour rules, or attending a social skills program).
A discipline improvement plan usually involves the school, the student and the parents working together to support a student to improve his/her behaviour. It is a flexible tool that can be used at any time, for example as an early intervention strategy to prevent escalation of inappropriate behaviour or as a last resort alternative to suspension or exclusion. A discipline improvement plan may look different across schools and may be used in different ways as the agreement is intended to be a flexible tool that schools can use to suit the local context.
Failure to meet the conditions of a discipline improvement plan cannot be used as a ground for exclusion. However, a student may be suspended or excluded if his/her behaviour meets the grounds for suspension or exclusion.
What is the process for implementing discipline improvement plans?
The department has designed a template to support principals to develop and implement discipline improvement plans at their school, but this is optional and the school may choose to use their own format. Guidelines are also available. Principals and school staff have a range of responsibilities for managing disciplinary actions, including discipline improvement plans, which are outlined in the school's Responsible behaviour plan for students. Further advice can be found in the Safe, supportive and disciplined school environment procedure.
How will it help to improve a student's behaviour?
Discipline improvement plans provide flexibility to address problem behaviour in a manner that meets the needs of the individual student. A discipline improvement plan can be informed by the student's individual circumstances and other key information to allow the school to support the student in a way that promotes positive behaviour. Discipline improvement plans can also be used as an early intervention tool to assist in improving problem student behaviour before the behaviour escalates to a level which may be grounds for suspension or exclusion.
Parents are encouraged to be involved in the development of a discipline improvement plan and as such have a clear understanding of the expectations and consequences of their child's non-compliance.
What happens if parents or students don't agree?
The discipline improvement plan is the school's way of giving the student another chance and trying to support the student to change his/her behaviour so that the student and others in the class can learn. The principal determines what other disciplinary action is appropriate if the student does not agree to a discipline improvement plan, for example, the student may get a detention or a suspension.
While a parent's involvement is not mandatory, a collaborative approach is encouraged and the intent of the discipline improvement plan is to involve the school, parents and the student in the development of the plan.
Who can a parent talk to about a discipline improvement plan?
If a parent has any questions about his/her child's discipline improvement plan, he/she can talk to the school principal or the student's teacher. For more general information about discipline strategies, including discipline improvement plans, refer to the Safe, supportive and disciplined school environment procedure or look at the school's Responsible behaviour plan for students.